LeBlanc earns All-American honors for third time

Former Meeker High School graduate Joe LeBlanc earned All-American honors with a sixth place finish in the 184-pound bracket at the NCAA Division I National Championships, held last week in Philadelphia, Penn.
LeBlanc, who wrestles for the University of Wyoming Cowboys, finished fifth as a red-shirt freshman and fourth last year. He entered the tournament as the No. 5 seed but had to forfeit his final two matches because he did not make weight on the third day of the tournament.
“I couldn’t believe it happened,” LeBlanc said of not making weight. “I checked my weight at the hotel and was two-tenths under, then was sixth-tenths over when I stepped on at the weigh-in.”
Once a wrestler steps on the official scale, he cannot try to lose the weight and must forfeit his remaining matches. The Cowboys also had to forfeit all the team points LeBlanc had earned with his five wins, causing his team to drop as many as 16 places in the team standings.
“We could have finished in the top 12,” LeBlanc said, had his points not been taken away. Instead the Cowboys finished 28th in the nation.
LeBlanc pinned A.J. Kissel of Purdue in the first round, then lost to Iowa’s Grant Gambrall, who eventually finished third, in the second round.
“A couple of calls didn’t go my way and it got in my head,” LeBlanc said of his match against Gambrall. “I tied the score in the third period then cut him and tried to take him down but couldn’t get it done.”
LeBlanc won four matches in the consolation bracket against wrestlers from Oklahoma State University, West Virginia, Duke and Minnesota to advance to Saturday’s medal rounds before the weigh-in fiasco, ending his season with a 29-3 record.
“It sucks that it ended that way but I’m glad I get another chance to win a national title, it will be my focus this summer,” LeBlanc said of his upcoming final year of eligibility.
LeBlanc said he has been down the last couple of days but is glad to be home with his wife Amanda, who is expecting another child in August, and his son Tyson.
“I know God has a plan for me,” LeBlanc said.